How long you need anticoagulants depends on the balance of risks between having a blood clot and bleeding and these will be different for each individual. Your specialist will decide the length of time anticoagulants are needed in your particular case. This is just a guide. But it includes song titles. And the links to the songs on YouTube. We’re kind that way!
Song – life in the fast lane
If you go into hospital for surgery or a medical problem that leaves you stuck in bed for a few days you may need a short course of anticoagulants, especially if you have had a blood clot before. The need for anticoagulants will be made by your doctor but it is a good idea to discuss it with the doctor yourself. Short-term treatment is usually given as injections into the skin once a day and is usually continued until you are mobile. In some cases you may need to keep taking the treatment after you get home.
For a while
Song – Seasons in the sun
If you have a DVT or PE and it is your first event, you will probably only need treatment for a while. For a blood clot that comes on after surgery or trauma the length of time on treatment depends on the site of the clot; a small clot in the veins below the knee needs only 6 weeks of treatment whereas a larger clot or a PE may need treatment up to 6 months.
Song – Twelfth of never
For some conditions the need for long-term anticoagulants is well established. If you have a mechanical heart valve or atrial fibrillation treatment should be continued indefinitely to prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of a stroke, but the decision to continue long-term treatment if you have had more than one DVT or PE can be much harder. If you have had recurrent blood clots your doctor will need to weigh up the risk of another clot if you stop anticoagulants against the risk of bleeding if you stay on anticoagulants. Many factors affect this decision including your age, the site of the clot, the cause of the clot, the time between events and whether you are male or female.